5 Tips for Choosing Your Relocation Services Partner

So, you’re ready to outsource the management of your relocation program? Smart move! You’ll save tons in inhouse time and labor. And assuming you choose well, you’ll improve employee satisfaction and save money, too. The million-dollar question: how do you choose the right relocation services partner? What criteria should you weigh?

Great questions! After all, there’s no shortage of relocation companies out there, and they all sound impressive at first glance. However, scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll find some big differences. 

Choose well, and you’ll have an efficient, economical program that runs like clockwork and delivers consistently-awesome employee experiences. Choose poorly, and you can end up with an expensive, outdated program that leaves your new hires disenchanted, your HR team frustrated and your CFO unhappy. 

Yup, there’s a lot at stake here! 

So, how do you pick a winner? First, think about what you want from your relocation program, and formulate questions accordingly. And be sure to focus on these five key areas, which can make or break the success of your program.

1. Choose a Relocation Services Partner that Prioritizes Choice 

Every employer is different; every move is different. A relocation provider that demonstrates a cookie-cutter philosophy—i.e., that steers you toward one particular relocation policy or only works with one mover—is more interested in what’s-in-it-for-them than what’s-in-it-for-you and your people.  

On the other hand, a good relocation company will partner with you to develop the kind of program you want and work individually with each employee to craft a perfect, personalized move. In other words, they’ll accommodate you. 

2. Look for a Relocation Services Partner that Leverages Technology 

Not too long ago, all relocations were managed the same way: through relocation consultants that held the keys to every move. Employees had no choice but to make all their arrangements through a stranger on the other end of the phone. 

Although some older relocation companies still operate this way, a new generation of tech-based relocation providers give employees more flexibility in arranging their moves. They allow employees to book suppliers, submit receipts and scope out their new cities via a user-friendly online portal. Or, they can let their relocation specialist do the heavy lifting, if they’d prefer. (But most don’t prefer it.)  

Relocation software offers employers big advantages, too. 

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3. Make Sure Your Relocation Services Partner Operates Transparently

As the ones footing the bill, employers have every right and reason to know the status of every active move and their incurred expenses. However, some relocation companies don’t offer much in the way of transparency, so on a day-to-day basis, employers don’t know what’s happening and how much it will cost. 

If you want that visibility—and you should—focus your search on tech-based relocation services partners, which offer employers access to all their program information: costs, move status, etc. When it comes to relocation, no one likes surprises.

4. Pick a Relocation Services Partner that Provides Reports on Demand  

You shouldn’t need to wait for a quarterly or annual review to know how your relocation program is performing. How much have you spent to date? What’s the average cost of a move? How many days does it take for employees to get from Point A to Point B?

A client-focused relocation services partner is going to ensure you can access this information anytime through real-time reports, rather than keep you in the dark. Better yet, it will work with you to continuously improve your program based on your data. Knowledge is power, especially in real time. 

5. Make Sure Your Relocation Services Partner Charges You Fairly

Most relocation companies steer employees to “preferred providers”—i.e., realtors, moving companies, etc. they have contracted with. However, one dirty little secret of the relocation industry is that some providers earn commissions from these suppliers. They make most of their profits through “markups,” made at the expense of their clients, many who don’t even know about the practice. 

On the other hand, a handful of relocation providers actually negotiate discounts with their preferred providers, saving their clients money. Typically, these are tech-based providers that earn their revenues from software licensing fees, not vendor referrals. So, when screening relocation companies, ask if they employ markups—and beware of those that say “yes.”  

In summary, when choosing a relocation services partner, it’s important to do your due diligence. Keep in mind, the key word here is “partner”—because a true partner will operate in a way that benefits you.  

Human Resources Today